Greek Commander @ Helm of EU Naval Operation

The Council of the European Union adopted a Joint Action on an EU military operation on November 10 to tackle piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. Greek Commodore Antonios Papaioannou was appointed as the commander of EU naval forces in the area. The operation (EU NAVFOR, Somalia) under the code name “Atalanta” is the first naval operation launched by the European Union within the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Javier Solana congratulated Papaioannou, adding that he brings “his considerable expertise and the experience of his national navy to his role as Force commander for this operation in a new area for the EU.”  The success of the operation will secure a safe passage for vulnerable vessels, including those of the United Nation’s food aid programme. Following the Governmental Council on Foreign Policy and National Defence’s meeting yesterday (12.11.2008), Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis announced that Greece will participate in the Atalanta operation. Ministry of Defense: Hellenic Navy & International Presence